According to reports, preparations are underway to pay the first “coronavirus claims”, South Africa’s Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has seen a rapid increase in the number of users visiting its claims site.
“A spokesperson of the UIF confirmed to Business Insider that its electronic claims site, Ufiling.co.za, saw almost 478,000 visits this week as more people find themselves out of work in an economic shutdown. Before the national lockdown, around 50,000 people would visit the site every day,” Business Insider SA.
The fund is now preparing to pay out R18 million per day in claims for unemployment, illness, maternity leave, or “reduced working time”. This is an estimated R3 million more than before the crisis.
According to Business Insider SA, “The first new special payouts to employees of companies who have been affected by the coronavirus – called the COVID-19 Temporary Relief or the special Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) – will begin next week,”
Reports state that employees who have been put on unpaid leave during this time, or laid off temporarily, or only received a part of their salary, can also for this special payout from the UIF.
A business will have to apply to the UIF to get money to pay workers. The application should include proof that it suffered a severe knock from the lockdown. Once approved, the UIF is said to pay out money per worker for up to three months.
The amounts paid will be a percentage of an employee’s salary, according to a legislated sliding scale from 38% (highest earners) to 60% (lowest earners)
The maximum payout will be R6 730 per month. The sliding scale stops at R17 702: All workers earning more than this will only get the 38% maximum benefit (R6 730). The minimum amount will not be below the minimum wage (around R3 500).
Businesses must have been registered with the UIF before the crisis started to qualify for the benefits.
President Ramaphosa on Thursday said the UIF has set aside R40 billion to pay these claims, Ramaphosa said on Thursday.